Burrito Blogger Bids Goodbye From Bernal’s Burrito Mecca

Hodgkinscancun

All good things must come to an end, and nothing epitomizes this quite like a burrito. Though savory and impossibly large, every burrito is nonetheless finite… and the same is apparently true of blogs about burritos.

After writing 993 burrito reviews on his Burritoeater blog over the course of the last 10 years, Charles Hodgkins has decided to hang up his napkins and call it quits. Yet when EaterSF sat down with Mr. Hodgkins to reflect on his legendary burrito criticism career, they conducted the interview at the glamorous Taqueria Cancun on Mission at Valencia in Bernal Heights.

Coincidence? We think not.

Here’s a parting gem of burrito wisdom Hodgkins shared about the changes he’s seen in San Francisco’s burrito landscape:

Prices have gone up. That doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers other people. I went to Papalote a couple weeks ago with a friend of mine, and the burrito came to like $10.09. Minor cause for alarm, now that it’s in the double digits, but at the same time, another one was $5.50. And it’s not like getting ripped off when you buy a car and you overpay by thousands of dollars. You might be overpaying by like $1.50. So we have to keep it in perspective here. Surprisingly, burritos haven’t gotten more gourmet and ‘sophisticated.’ If anything, I think the burrito scene here is as healthy as its ever been. There are a number of taquerias that are better now than they used to be, or conversely, that used to be better but are not as good now. For the last month and a half, I’ve been going to twice a week to taquerias on this farewell tour of mine. It’s not just my favorite places, it’s also places that are just kind of important. Yesterday, I went to La Taqueria—I can’t stand their burritos, but I felt like I had to go one last time. But for every place that’s a letdown, there’s a place like Papalote, or El Castillito, or Cancun, that’s going to be rock-solid for time immemorial.

PHOTO: Charles Hodgkins at Bernal’s Taqueria Cancun, by EaterSF

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5 Responses to Burrito Blogger Bids Goodbye From Bernal’s Burrito Mecca

  1. friscolex says:

    Long live BurritoEater! I could read his reviews all day. When I was far, far away in a burritoless land called Guam, my folks mailed me some shirts from the site. There was a glimmer of hope when I saw how they were wrapped (https://picasaweb.google.com/108901177542804624474/JanuaryOnGuam#5586855035835940610) but no, they were not burritos, but rather very cleverly packaged shirts.

    Thanks, Charles, and digest in peace.

  2. David Kaye says:

    The problem with calling the public’s attention to something, whether it be resort towns or burritos is that it creates a trend and drives up prices. I remember when burritos were about $2 and I moved to Portland. They had only 2 worthwhile Mexican restaurants. One got reviewed and before long the price of their burritos shot up to $5.

    This is why I tend to keep secrets to myself. I know places where you can buy $3 well drinks and $4 call drinks. I know a place in SF where you can rent a 1-bedroom apartment for $1300. I know a really good Thai restaurant where you’d be hard pressed to spend more than $10 on a meal. But I’m not telling. Well, I’ll tell my friends – maybe – but I certainly won’t blog about it.

    • doug says:

      Popularity is probably the the smallest factor in determining what to charge for food. Raw materials, wages, rent, insurance, etc. all come before that. Volume is the key to success for most shops, and if these places could still charge $2 and have a line out the door all day, many surely would.

      • David Kaye says:

        Doug: Having been a restauranteur (some people here may be familiar with a place I once owned, the Roxy in Portland) I can say that successful business owners work out their nut and then try to charge as much as the market will bear over that. Now, it’s true that many inexperienced people try to be the McDonald’s of their genre. Won’t work. Anybody who’s small simply can’t compete with low prices and volume. Somebody will always undercut you. Meanwhile, if you have the good fortune to get good reviews you then raise the prices as high as you can in order to rake in as much money as possible before the bloom is off the rose and the patrons go elsewhere.

        In fact, my great failing with Roxy’s was in not charging enough, which is a problem The Lovely Suzanne didn’t have because she did it right from the get-go when she took over.

  3. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Appropriate that he would sign off from Can-Cun, home of the best burritos in the City (and, therefore, the best burritos in the world.)

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